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'I'm back': Steve Scalise, congressman shot at baseball field, returns to Capitol Hill

by Eun Kyung Kim /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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Steve Scalise, the Republican lawmaker shot during a congressional baseball practice in June, returned Thursday to the Capitol for the first time since the attack.

"I'm back," the House Majority Whip announced on Twitter, including a poignant photo of himself looking out on the National Mall.

A short time later, Scalise walked onto the floor of the House of Representatives using two canes. His colleagues welcomed him with a long standing ovation.

“You have no idea how great this feels, to be back at work in the people’s House,” Scalise said before thanking the “true angels” who helped save his life, including a large team of doctors and rehabilitation workers.

He also thanked his security detail, including the two Capitol Police officers who were injured while trading fire with the gunman.

“You are my hero, you saved my life,” he told officer David Bailey, who was sitting in the House gallery. The other officer, Crystal Griner, was not present.

Image: U.S. Rep Steve Scalise arrives on the floor of the U.S. House chamber after returning to Congress in Washington
Rep. Steve Scalise arrives on the floor of the U.S. House after returning to Congress for the first time since being shot in June. Reuters

Scalise was critically injured in the June 14 attack at an Alexandria, Virginia, baseball field, where he was practicing for a congressional charity game with fellow lawmakers and staffers. He spent the next three months in a rehabilitation facility.

The 51-year-old Louisiana lawmaker had remained silent about his injuries until he spoke to "60 Minutes" for an interview set to air on Sunday.

“My femur was shattered,” he said, according to excerpts CBS News released Thursday. “The hip and pelvis had serious damage where the bullet went through and, you know, did some damage to areas that had to be shored up with steel plates."

Scalise said his surgeons did "a phenomenal job of ... rebuilding Humpty Dumpty. There was a lot of damage inside that had to get fixed.”

A lone gunman opened fire at the Republican team during a practice for an annual charity match between congressional Republicans and Democrats. Scalise and three others were wounded.

The shooter, 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, died after exchanging gunfire with authorities. Police said Hodgkinson was critical of Republican leaders and President Trump on social media.

On the House floor, Scalise spoke about the power of prayer as "something you just cannot underestimate."

"I’m definitely a living example that miracles really do happen," he said.

He also mentioned the support his family received from his congressional colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats.

"I got to see the goodness in people. While some people might focus on a tragic event and an evil act, to me, all I remember are the thousands of acts of kindness and love and warmth that came out of this and kept me going through all of it," he said.

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